By Guy Page
Vermont employers may legally fire employees who refuse to be vaccinated once a vaccine receives final approval by the FDA, the chief legal counsel for the Scott administration said today.
It’s unclear whether Vermont employers may terminate employees now, while vaccines are still classified as emergency treatment, Gov. Phil Scott and his legal counsel Jaye Pershing Johnson said at today’s press conference. (Go to last two minutes of press conference audio.)
Vermont Daily asked: “Governor, is it permissible for an employer to terminate an employer who refuses vaccination? And if so, is a negative antibody test acceptable as an alternative?”
Both Johnson and Scott said the acceptability of a negative antibody test as a vaccine alternative would likely need to be resolved in court.
As to firing an unvaccinated worker – “That’s a legal question I don’t have an answer to,” Scott said. “I haven’t heard that question as of yet – but I imagine it will.” He then asked Johnson for more information.
“We have researched this a little bit, whether an employer can fire someone for not being vaccinated,” Johnson said. “The problem with the vaccination is it is an emergency use authorization at this point, and the law isn’t clear. I don’t know of any litigation that has tested it yet.”
“What we’re hoping for is the commercial use authorization, and then employers can make that decision,” Johnson said.
A U.S. District court judge has ruled against Houston hospital employees opposing mandatory vaccination. The lower court decision will be appealed, the plaintiffs said.